The Society for Economic Research on Copyright Issues
Aims & Scope
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 3, No. 2, 15-27, 2006
David Bounie, Patrick Waelbroeck and Marc Bourreau
The purpose of this article is to identify which, if any, segments of the movie business have suffered from digital piracy. We use a sample of 620 university members including undergraduate students, graduate students and professors to assess the effect of digital piracy on legal demand. A large percentage of respondents get pirated movies from a variety of channels (on P2P networks, intranet, by physical means. . . ). Surprisingly, approximately one third of the pirates declared that watching pirated movies increased their demand for films (for instance, it led them to rent or purchase videos that they would not have rented or purchased otherwise). Using regressions analysis, we find no impact of piracy on theater attendance, and a strong impact on video rentals and purchases. However, movie piracy has no impact on video rentals for respondents who use pre-paid pricing schemes at video-stores.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 9, No. 1, 47-92, 2012
This paper summarizes key results in the empirical literature on unauthorized copying and copyright, and puts them into context. Casting the net more widely than previous surveys, it highlights noteworthy gaps and contradictions in the literature. There is initial evidence, for example, that the economic effects of digital copying vary between different industries, but these differences are not yet well understood. Most importantly, the empirical literature is unbalanced. The bulk of econometric research has focused on unauthorized copying and rights holder revenues. Little is known about the implications for user welfare, for the supply of copyright works, or about the costs of running a copyright system - and the preliminary evidence is often quite surprising. Much work on these issues remains to arrive at reasonable implications for copyright policy.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, 2018, 15(1), 20-37
Estrella Gomez Herrera and Bertin Martens
The EU seeks to create a seamless online Digital Single Market for media products such as digital music and film. The territoriality of the copyright regime is often perceived as an obstacle that induces geographical segmentation. This paper provides empirical evidence on the extent of market segmentation in the EU on the supply side and measures the contribution of several drivers of this segmentation. We use data from the Apple iTunes country stores in 27 EU Member States. We find that availability of EU media products across country stores in the EU is hovering around 80 per cent for music and 40 per cent for films. Recent industry initiatives to reduce the transaction costs of making digital music available across borders have resulted in a reasonably wide availability though still short of the 100 per cent mark. Supply side factors including copyright-related trade costs probably still play a role in music though we can only infer this indirectly in the absence of data on copyright licensing arrangements at product level. Commercial strategies and territorial restrictions in distribution agreements reduce film availability, more so than copyright issues. We also find evidence of price differentiation across iTunes EU country stores.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 1, No. 1, 93-118, 2004
Stan J. Liebowitz
Unlike television broadcasters, who must negotiate with the copyright owners before they can broadcast movies, radio broadcasters need not negotiate with the copyright holders for the sound recordings broadcast on radio. In the United States radio broadcasters have no obligations whatsoever to the copyright owners of the sound recordings (although they do have obligations to the copyright holders of the music contained in the sound recording). The reason for this discrepancy appears to be that radio broadcasters have argued, and it is generally accepted, that radio play benefits record sales and thus there is no need for radio broadcasters to purchase the rights to broadcast the sound recording. This impact of radio play on record sales is commonly referred to as a "symbiotic" relationship between these two industries. Yet there appears to be no systematic examination of this relationship. In this paper I present evidence indicating that radio play does not benefit overall record sales. There are obvious implications for copyright. I also examine, by way of comparison, television's negative impact on the movie industry.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 6, No. 2, 5-12, 2009
The debate about copyright law centers on the apparent tradeoff between the creation of new works and the extent to which these works are used once they are created. Economics has been employed explicitly and implicitly to bolster positions taken by those involved in this debate. I do not directly join this debate here, but what I will say is relevant to it. My objectives are different, to draw attention to the neglect of creativity by economists and to describe some of the unique problems this neglect poses for those who use traditional economic models to explain and support the positions they take in this debate. It is no intent of mine to discourage the use of traditional economic models but, rather, to urge greater care in their use.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 9, No. 2, 3-30, 2012
Copyright collecting societies have attracted economists' attention for over 30 years and the attention of government regulators for even longer. They have typically been accepted by economists and by courts of law as necessary for reducing transaction costs and enabling copyright to work. The advent of digitization has led to renewed interest in the topic and to the view that though new technologies offer the possibility of improved rights management, collecting societies are not responding sufficiently to these opportunities. That view was evident in recent enquiries into the role of copyright in the digital age in the UK, which proposed the formation of a Digital Copyright Exchange (DCE) that would promote online digital trade. This paper evaluates the case for the DCE in the light of what economists know about collective rights management.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 6, No. 2, 31-60, 2009
Paul J. Heald
Some economists assert that as valuable works transition from copyrighted status and fall into the public domain they will be underexploited and their value dissipated. Others insist instead that without an owner to control their use, valuable public domain works will be overexploited or otherwise debased. This study of the most valuable musical compositions from 1913-32 demonstrates that neither hypothesis is true as it applies to the exploitation of songs in movies from 1968-2007. When compositions fall into the public domain, they are just as likely to be exploited in movies, suggesting no under-exploitation. And the rate of exploitation of these public domain songs is no greater than that of copyrighted songs, indicating no congestion externality. The absence of market failure is likely due to producer and consumer self-regulation.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, 9(2), 55-78, 2012
This paper examines data on the effects of Internet peer-to peer (P2P) file sharing activities on music purchasing. The data was obtained from a survey commissioned by Industry Canada to "inform Industry Canada's policy development work" regarding copyright law reform in Canada. The paper focuses on an important survey question which has not yet been analysed. Analysis of survey responses suggests that P2P file-sharing is a substitute for legitimate music purchases and has strong negative effects on legitimate music purchases. This contradicts the results of earlier analysis of the data commissioned by Industry Canada first published on Industry Canada's website in 2007 (Andersen and Frenz, 2007), and then subsequently revised and republished as Andersen and Frenz (2010).Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 6, No. 1, 35-60, 2009
The optimal term of copyright has been a matter for extensive debate over the last decade. Based on a novel approach we derive an explicit formula which characterises the optimal term as a function of a few key and, most importantly, empirically-estimable parameters. Using existing data on recordings and books we obtain a point estimate of around 15 years for optimal copyright term with a 99% confidence interval extending up to 38 years. This is substantially shorter than any current copyright term and implies that existing terms are too long.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 1, No. 2, 5-10, 2004
Paul A. David
The history of the copyright system appears to be approaching an end. A pressing question now is whether or not the particular manner of its passing will be one that proves seriously destructive for cultural vitality and the advancement of knowledge.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 8, No. 2, 65-100, 2011
This paper tries to convey the problems we government economists face in weighing up the evidence around copyright policy, and how the academic and grey literature plays a role in this. This is with particular reference to the recent review of the IP framework in the UK - the Hargreaves Review - and the reforms which are now being planned. The paper outlines the proposed changes and tries to raise the research questions which will need to be answered for Government to take these reforms forward. My primary aim in this paper is to emphasise that we are looking for help in gathering this evidence, and secondly to show that the institutions of Government can make it very hard for us civil servants to find all the relevant answers, as we often don't know who to ask, or have the time to ask. I try to illustrate this by going through one aspect of the evidence we believe we have, and look in some detail at a very influential piece of 'lobbynomics' on the cost of infringement. The purpose of this is to share the view from the other side of the policy debate, and to invite the reader inside the bubble that can be government policy making, all the while trying to get out of said bubble.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 2, No. 2, 41-52, 2005
Norbert J. Michel
Several empirical studies exist that measure the impact of filesharing services on music sales, and most suggest that there was a negative impact on sales. Still, most of these studies do not examine (at the household level) whether consumers substituted out of music and into movies. This paper uses micro-level data from the Consumer Expenditure Survey (1998 through 2003) to test for this possible substitution effect. The data do not support the hypothesis that music consumers spent less on music because they spent more on either movie tickets or prerecorded movies (purchases or rentals).Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, 2018, 15(2), 1-22
Joshua S. Gans
This paper provides an overview of economic approaches to the pricing of mechanical royalties for copy-protected music works. It argues that principles for such pricing can be provided usefully from principles of pricing access to essential facilities. In particular, the structure of the royalty should be such that the royalty level does not change if the business model of downstream entities (notably, digital music streaming platforms) changes (i.e., neutrality) and the level of the royalty should ensure that the copyright holders receive a return in excess of their next best alternative in reaching consumers (i.e., opportunity cost). Ways of using benchmarking to derive the relevant opportunity cost are then discussed including the use of methods inspired by economic bargaining approaches such as the Shapley Value.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 3, No.1, 19-27, 2006
This article shows how the principles of modern bargaining theory can help develop a better understanding of contractual terms such as royalties between copyright holders and users such as between an artist and a recording company (or between an author and a publisher). We develop the main principles in a non-technical and illustrative manner.Click to read more.
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 3, No.1, 61-74, 2006
Michael A. Einhorn
Performance rights organizations (PROs) provide transactional efficiency for music users and copyright owners by negotiating contracts, collecting revenue, and paying royalties for the rights to publicly perform musical compositions, thereby replacing their need to deal individually with one another in bilateral licensing. Historically, performance rights for catalogued works have been made available to users through blanket licenses, which convey the rights to perform, or have performed on licensed premises, all registered works in the corresponding catalog of registered works. While blanket licenses may enhance transactional efficiency, the same licenses are sometimes recognized as anticompetitive restrictions that compel each user to make an all or nothing choice that may force acceptance of a full license contract in place of a less inclusive alternative that may actually be preferred. Competitive concerns at the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Justice Department regarding blanket licensing at ASCAP and BMI led to a separate series of Consent Decrees for each of the two major PROs in the U.S.
To explore the disparate claims of economic efficiency, the paper finds that concepts from public utility regulation may be particularly helpful. Three characteristics are considered: where prices are subsidy-free, whether license provision is a natural monopoly, and whether any competitive submarkets can be structurally separated from the regulated core.